“Make Me an Instrument of Peace: A Guide to Civil Discourse:” Online course debuts ahead of 2020 engagement

The Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations and Department of Faith Formation, in partnership with ChurchNext, a ministry of Forward Movement, has released “Make Me an Instrument of Peace: A Guide to Civil Discourse.” This five-part online curriculum covers the following topics: civil discourse in context, tenets for civil discourse, values-based conversations, the complexities of policy, and sacred space for debate.

Peacebuilding involves learning from and working with others, while also sharing different perspectives with humility and vulnerability. Bishop Curry says, “Love your Democratic neighbor, love your Republican neighbor, love your independent neighbor.” Civil discourse helps us to understand how we can engage with people who have different views from our own and lays out the value for doing so. This guide to civil discourse curriculum aims to enhance our ability to learn from and understand one another, and to apply that practice to public policy conversations.

“This effort to equip Episcopalians for engaging in tough conversations comes out of a desire to unlock the potential in the diversity of ideas and perspectives we have within The Episcopal Church; a potential we believe is an asset to our country as we seek solutions to the greatest challenges of our time,” states Alan Yarborough, church relations officer, Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations, “Yet it’s not a new effort—it is inspired by previous Episcopal civil discourse initiatives and by the strong tradition of civic engagement going back to the founding of the U.S. and the Church itself.”

In ChurchNext’s online platform, participants receive weekly video lessons offered by a team of five leaders from across the Church. Following each video segment, participants are invited to engage in discussion and reflection on thought-provoking questions in a forum with other people from around the country. This approach allows for a balance of individual engagement with the material and open conversation with others who are learning along with each participant.

“We hope this tool will help people learn from each other, understand the sacredness of healthy conversation, and recognize our common humanity as we put forth our best collective effort to live into our call to be an instrument of peace and engage in community with one another, all while we stay true to our principles of seeking justice.” says Yarborough.

Speakers for each session include:

  • Ms. Rebecca Linder Blachly, director, Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations
  • The Rev. Marcus George Halley, dean of Formation for the Episcopal Church in Connecticut; priest in charge, Church of the Holy Spirit, West Haven
  • The Rev. Shannon Kelly, director, Episcopal Church Department of Faith Formation
  • The Rev. Ranjit K. Mathews, rector, St. James Episcopal Church, New London, Connecticut
  • Mr. Alan Yarborough, church relations officer, Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations

“Make Me an Instrument of Peace: A Guide to Civil Discourse” is offered free of charge for the first 2,000 students and available on-demand. Participants can access the ChurchNext curriculum at Make Me an Instrument For Individuals and For Groups. Videos from the curriculum will also be available on the Office of Government Relations webpage.

ChurchNext, a ministry of Forward Movement, creates online Christian learning experiences that shape disciples. Along with our partners, we are devoted to helping people grow in their Christian faith, improve their lives, and better the world. Learn more at www.churchnext.tv 

Inspiring disciples and empowering evangelists around the globe every day, Forward Movement has been producing excellent, innovative resources to encourage spiritual growth in individuals and congregations for more than eighty years. Learn more at www.forwardmovement.org